ePortfolios pop up everywhere in the #ISTE2015 Expo Hall. Obviously, portfolios have potential. They are embedded in learning management systems like @Schoology (thanks for the demo, Annette!) and the project portfolio focused Nureva Troove (nice, Rita!). Our own Meego™ ePortfolio poster presentation met rave reviews. So, what’s the potential power of an ePortfolio?
A few years ago, the State of Georgia, like many other states, began to look at student growth models as determinants of quality instruction and student performance. The multipage reports sent home to parents have colorful graphs and education-ese explanations. All this labeling still makes me nervous – low growth, high growth – all still based on standardized test score data. These scores represent a snapshot in time, much like my bank statement. When you look at my statement only at the end of the month, you may question my accomplishments. It is only after perusing the entries of charitable giving, savings and investing that you begin to form a more accurate picture of who I am.
Over the past two years, I have had the great fortune to be teamed with Dr. Linda Winfree (@linda_winfree) who routinely offers discussion of student growth to parents during parent-teacher conferences. This growth mentality is always optimistic whether large growth or small growth. Linda talks to parents about observations supported by multiple pieces of evidence. “I see growth here. He’s going to be fine,” she reflects to worried parents.
Stanford Professor Carol Dweck coined the Growth Mindset after decades of research. Dweck suggests the growth mindset is an approach to life that is characterized by seizing opportunities, rising above challenges and failures, and a consistent desire to learn new skills. Enter the potential power of an ePortfolio.
ePortfolios offer students and teachers an opportunity to collaboratively collect evidence of successes, failures, do-overs, and new skills demonstrations. Students are able to reflect on their authentic learning journey. Most importantly, students can easily share an ePortfolio with others who support them in their journey for success. The reflection of artifacts offers students moments to see opportunities, relish in rising above a challenge, and take pride in learning a new skill. Empowering students through ePortfolios opens for them the power of a growth mindset. Now, that’s real potential.